I know Christmas has come and gone, but if I don't write this down, I know I won't remember it next year.
2012 was my first Christmas as a dad. I must say, I think I could have been more prepared. Of course, it didn't help matters when all three of the Williams clan came down with a cold just before we packed up the ol' sleigh (Caravan) and ventured from Des Moines to northern Iowa for a four-day holiday party hopping excursion.
Four Ways in Which I Was Not Prepared for My First Christmas as a Dad
- Weather: Of course, we can't plan for the weather, but in all my 28 years of living in Iowa, it has never hindered my Christmas traveling plans. This year, with much more at stake than just me and my wife, at the last minute I had to make an executive decision: The roads were simply not looking good for our Friday, December 21, evening commute to Mason City. We had to delay travel until Saturday morning thanks to winter storm Draco. (Who knew The Weather Channel named winter storms?) With colds in tow and already behind schedule, we made the (painfully) slow trek to our first destination. Arriving safely was a blessing in and of itself.
- Packing and unpacking: Having four Christmas gatherings in four days, in three different towns and at four different houses, made for some buff arms at the trip's end. Everywhere we went, I was hauling in loads upon loads of presents, the pack n' play, diaper bag, food, clothes, etc. I'd pack the van, drive to the next destination, unpack the van, set up the pack n' play, set up the monitor, enjoy the fellowship, tear down, pack up, rinse and repeat. I'm not complaining; it's an honor to serve my family as the bellhop, but I was just not mentally prepared for the extensive packing and unpacking Christmas would bring. Having a cold prevented my thinking ahead. (Always blame the cold.)
- Present opening: Once you have a baby, it's not about you anymore. And I'm a generally selfish person, but I even surprised myself this year. I was so much more excited to see what Rooney got for Christmas than for anything I got. It was awesome to see the gifts that others had so carefully picked out for her, and the joy of knowing how much she use she would get out of them warmed my heart. There was just one small problem: I wasn't prepared for opening all those toys. I don't carry a knife (I know, take my man card); I've never needed one. Until now. My opportunity to be the hero and unwrap, assemble and have my daughter's toys instantly "play-ready" was squashed by my not having a Swiss army knife. Where was Santa on that one? That would have been the perfect stocking stuffer. Just sayin'.
- Emotions: I'm an emotional guy. I'll admit it. So to expand on #3 a little more, when someone gives my daughter a book with a title of "Sweet Dreams, Roo," and Roo is her nickname, I will get choked up. Or, when my wife and I adore the world of blogging and Grandma gives my daughter a book titled "My Mommy Is a Blogger," I may or may not have gotten something in my eye that produced a tear or two.
We had an amazing time with family this Christmas, but next year, I'm adopting the Boy Scout motto and I will "be prepared."
What did you learn this Christmas season?